Age, experience vary

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Tegan Mills of Carlsbad takes part in Friday’s breakaway roping competition in the Joe’s Boot Shop Calf Roping event at Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena. Mill roped the calf in 1.8 seconds, but was penalized 10 seconds for breaking early.

By Eric Butler: FNM correspondent

It didn’t take long to figure out that Friday’s calf roping at the Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena would be quite different than most sports events in one respect.

About two contestants, to be precise.

The fourth annual Joe’s Boot Shop Calf Roping began with what is numbered the “00” competition — or, “double-aught,” as the organizers and participants refer to it.

Lane Siggins was the first to go after a calf and rope it from his horse. Siggins, from Ruidoso, is only 15 years and the first of 71 entrants in this event.

The next competitor? A mere 55 years Siggins’ senior, 70-year-old Sherrell Overturff of Slaton, Texas, took his turn.

Despite the age disparity, both were seeking the same prize money. Organizers sought to put ropers of comparable ability in each of the different events that will take place over the three days of the event. On Sunday, the best of the best will vie in the open category and the biggest prize money.

The reasons why both Siggins and Overturff weren’t placed in that category is age: Not enough for Siggins and too much for Overturff, although the latter has plenty of rodeo experience at the highest level behind him.

“I’ve been involved in it for many years,” Overturff said. “I did it in juniors, rodeoed in college and I did PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) for awhile.

“I’ve retired as a school teacher and, now and then, I do this for fun.”

Overturff, on his first attempt, missed the breakaway calf with his lasso. The Texan, however, said he was quite able to jump off his horse and wrestle down the animal.

“If I can get my hands on him,” he said.

Ropers like Siggins and fellow 15-year-old Pryce Harris of Canyon, Texas had a different problem in their first run. Since the calves were nearly the same size as the young cowboys, each had initial difficulty in getting enough leverage to throw the animal to the ground.

Harris did have a good time of 16.38 seconds and was hoping to be in contention when the prize money was handed out at the end of the day.

“I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but it should pay pretty good though,” Harris said. “Hundreds, maybe thousands, I don’t know.”

Asked about competing with men old enough to be his grandfather, Harris said he had no problem with that.

“Some of these guys have been in the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) and stuff. It’s pretty cool roping against them,” Harris said. “Some of them come out and help me a lot. I think most of them are doing it more for the fun, I think. They’re just doing what they love.”